Nikon D3300 Review

February 5, 2014 | Mark Goldstein | |

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 24 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 9Mb.

The Nikon D3300 produced images of excellent quality during the review period. The settings of ISO 100 through ISO 400 are as good as indistinguishable from each other. The slightest hint of noise starts to creep in at ISO 800 but the images are still very clean at that setting. ISO 1600 and ISO 3300 show progressively more noise, but both are eminently usable, even for very large prints. By ISO 6400 and the fastest setting of 12800 the JPEGs are already full of chroma noise but the raw files only show some finely grained luminance noise that allows even the ISO 1,800 setting to produce printable results. The out-of-camera JPEGs are soft at the default settings, but switch to raw image capture, and you'll see just how much detail the 24 megapixel sensor can record. The night photograph was excellent, while red-eye was not a common occurrence with the useful built-in flash. Active D-Lighting helps to salvage some extra detail in the shadow and highlights areas of high-contrast images.

Noise

The standard sensitivity settings on the Nikon D3300 range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800, with an expanded (boosted) setting of ISO 25600 also available. The following 100% crops show the noise levels for each setting for both JPG and RAW formats.

JPEG

RAW

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

iso100.jpg iso100raw.jpg
   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

iso200.jpg iso200raw.jpg
   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

iso400.jpg iso400raw.jpg
   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

iso800.jpg iso800raw.jpg
   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

iso1600.jpg iso1600raw.jpg
   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

iso3200.jpg iso3200raw.jpg
   

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

iso6400.jpg iso6400raw.jpg
   

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

iso12800.jpg iso12800raw.jpg
   

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

iso25600.jpg iso25600raw.jpg

File Quality

The file quality settings available on the Nikon D3300 are Basic, Normal and Fine for JPEGs, with raw capture also at your disposal. The following crops demonstrate the differences in quality.

Fine (9.88Mb) (100% Crop)

Normal (6.84Mb) (100% Crop)

quality_fine.jpg quality_normal.jpg
   

Basic (2.30Mb) (100% Crop)

RAW (19Mb) (100% Crop)

quality_basic.jpg quality_raw.jpg

Sharpening

The out-of-camera JPEGs are soft at the default settings, and benefit from further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. Here are a couple of 100% crops - the right-hand images have had some sharpening applied. You can also change the in-camera sharpening level by altering the Picture Controls if you don't like the default look.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

sharpen1.jpg sharpen1a.jpg
   
sharpen2.jpg sharpen2a.jpg

Flash

The flash settings on the Nikon D3300 are Auto, Auto with red-eye reduction, Fill-flash, Auto slow sync, Auto slow sync with red-eye correction, and Rear curtain with slow sync. These shots of a white coloured ceiling were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (27mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (27mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (82.5mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (82.5mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Flash On or the Red-eye-Reduction settings caused any noticeable red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
flash_on.jpg flash_on1.jpg
   

Red-eye Reduction

Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

flash_redeye.jpg flash_redeye1.jpg

Night

The Nikon D3300 lets you dial in shutter speeds of up to 30 seconds and has a Bulb mode as well for exposure times of practically any length, which is very good news if you are seriously interested in night photography. There is an optional long-exposure noise reduction function that can be activated to filter out any hot pixels that may appear when extremely slow shutter speeds are used. Do note that this works by way of dark frame subtraction, which effectively doubles the exposure time. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 30 seconds, aperture of f/11 at ISO 100. We've included a 100% crop for you to see what the quality is like.

Night

Night (100% Crop)

night1.jpg night1a.jpg

Active D-Lighting

Active D-Lighting increases the detail in the shadow and highlight areas of high-contrast images.

Off

On

dro_off.jpg dro_on.jpg

Picture Controls

Nikon’s Picture Controls are akin to Canon’s Picture Styles in being preset combinations of sharpening, contrast, brightness, saturation and hue. The available choices are Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait and Landscape. The following examples demonstrate the differences across these options.

Standard

Neutral

picture_control_01.jpg picture_control_02.jpg
   

Vivid

Monochrome

picture_control_03.jpg picture_control_04.jpg
   

Portrait

Landscape

picture_control_05.jpg picture_control_06.jpg

Effects

The Effects shooting mode provides 13 different creative filters that can be applied to both still images and movies.

Night Vision

Super Vivid

effects_01.jpg effects_02.jpg
   

Pop

Photo Illustration

effects_03.jpg effects_04.jpg
   

Color Sketch

Toy Camera

effects_05.jpg effects_06.jpg
   

Miniature Effect

Selective Color

effects_07.jpg effects_08.jpg
   

Silhouette

High Key

effects_09.jpg effects_10.jpg
   

Low Key

HDR Painting

effects_11.jpg effects_12.jpg

Easy Panorama

The Nikon D3300 can create a 180 degree panorama by sweeping the camera from left to right. Watch out for moving subjects in the frame as the D3300 won't compensate for this.

panorama1.jpg